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A Guide To Mamore Gap: One Of The Most Scenic Roads In Donegal

A Guide To Mamore Gap: One Of The Most Scenic Roads In Donegal

Mamore Gap is the most notable point on the Inishowen 100 drive / cycle.

Steep, narrow and winding, Mamore Gap is a mammoth of a challenge for walkers, cyclists and for some cars…

However, this unique corner of the Inishowen Peninsula leads those that travers along it to some magnificent scenery.

In the guide below, you’ll find warnings, info on the various viewing points along with where to visit close by. Dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows about Mamore Gap

Mamore gap Donegal

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s worth knowing what to expect from the Gap of Mamore before you get to it as it’s easy to get to the top and miss the pull in area. Take 20 seconds to read the below points, first: 

1. Location

Once a site of Catholic pilgrimage, the Mamore Gap is a pass that takes you through the Urris Hills from Dunree in the south to Urris in the north. It’s a 15-minute drive from both Buncrana and Ballyliffin.

2. Parking

You’ll have a couple of parking areas to choose from here. There’s one just beyond the summit that’s situated near the holy shrine (here on Google Maps), while another larger one is near the bottom of the descent (here on Google Maps).

3. It’s extremely steep

The Gap of Mamore can be very daunting to inexperienced cyclists and drivers. It’s very steep and requires a fair bit of effort to get up it. If you’re driving, low gears are going to be your friend here.

4. Part of the Inishowen 100

Mamore Gap is one of the key points on the incredible Inishowen 100 Route which takes you to the Inishowen Peninsula’s key attractions. Here’s a guide with a Google Map of the route to follow.

About Mamore Gap in Donegal

mamore gap donegal

Photos by Ondrej Prochazka/Shutterstock

Steep, narrow and winding, Mamore Gap isn’t easy to traverse on foot (or by bike!), but then, that’s what makes it so rewarding if you choose to tackle it without a car.

Once a site of Catholic pilgrimage, the Mamore Gap is a pass that takes you through the Urris Hills from Dunree in the south to Urris in the north.

Driving from the south, it’s a steep climb to the summit (walking or cycling would be a serious effort!) but once you’re at the top, the road gives way to a winding alpine descent towards Dunaff Head and the Atlantic Ocean.

Rising up to 800ft above sea level, the views from the summit are extraordinary and are unlike few other places in Europe, let alone Ireland.

Park up and take a bit of time to fully appreciate the gorgeous panoramas. Oh, and bring a camera too!

Things to see and do at Mamore Gap

mamore gap magic road

Photo via Shutterstock

So, there’s a handful of things to see and do around the Gap of Mamore, but you really do need to take note of them in advance, or you’ll miss them.

Below, you’ll find info on the magic road (yes, magic) and the obvious and ‘hidden’ view points.

1. The view points (with warnings)

There are several viewpoints around the Gap. The first is from the Grotto car park (here on Google Maps). The second is from the car park after you make your descent (here on Google Maps).

There third is from Mamore Hill and it comes with a warning – this isn’t easily accessible, the ground is uneven and care is needed as there are steep drops. 

You can pull in here if there’s space and there’s a hill just to the right that you can climb (again, care is needed).

2. The holy sites

The holy well of St. Eigne is the principal holy site on the route and is pretty much unmissable if you’re driving up from the south (it’s beside the car park).

People take pilgrimages to this well on the 15th of August and they have been doing so for centuries. You’ll find a grotto beside the well dedicated to Our Lady.

3. The magic road (warning!)

So, this is more optical illusion than magic. On the descent down the gap, you’ll see some white stone on the left. It’s said that when a car is stopped and put in neutral, it rolls back up the hill.

Yes, it sounds cool, but we really wouldn’t recommend doing this as the road is busy and this can cause disruption and/or the potential for an accident.

Things to do near the Gap of Mamore

One of the beauties of Mamore Gap is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Donegal.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Mamore Pass!

1. Glenevin Waterfall (10-minute drive)


Photos via Shutterstock

Lose yourself in the magical beauty of the stunning Glenevin waterfall. Follow the wooded, riverside trail to the crashing waters and immerse yourself in one of Ireland’s many wonders.

2. Fort Dunree (15-minute drive)

dunree fort military museum

Photo left: Lukassek. Right: Lucky Team Studio/shutterstock

Once an important defensive fort, Fort Dunree is now open to the public. Discover what life in the fort would have been like, take in a wealth of exhibits, and explore the underground bunkers.

3. Beaches galore (15-minute-plus drive)

tullagh bay beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Mamore Gap is near some best beaches in Donegal. The closest to the Gap are Tullagh Strand (14 minutes), Pollan Strand (18 minutes), Five Finger Strand (34 minutes) or, our favourite, Kinnagoe Bay (45 minutes).

4. Malin Head (45-minute drive)

Malin Head

Photos via Shutterstock

The mighty Malin Head is Inishowen’s most popular attraction. It’s also Ireland’s most northerly point and it’s worth visiting if you’re driving the Inishowen 100.

FAQs about visiting Mamore

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where does the Mamore Gap walk go?’ to ‘Is there anywhere to pull in?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

How long is Mamore Gap?

If you go off the measuring tool on Google Maps, the entire length of the Gap of Mamore is 2.53km (from the beginning of the road to past the second viewing point.

Where are the view points at Mamore Gap?

There’s 2 obvious ones – the parking area at the Grotto and the ‘main’ car park after you make the descent. There’s also the one we mention above, from the hill (but it comes with warnings!).

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